There’s something homey and comforting about a good pasta dish. I’m not sure what it is, but its the kind of meal that just always does it for me. While I had visions of bolognese sauce dancing in my head, I knew I didn’t have the time to make it this week, so instead, I opted for something with a similar feel that was a bit more summery fare. Plus, after seeing Jeff’s roasted tomato & sausage penne, my mind was pretty much set that I had to do something similar.
With tomato season coming to a slow end, I can’t find myself getting enough of them. In sandwiches, salads, or sauces, I just need more. I’ve never had tomatoes like I get here in North Carolina. So with my usual, weekly bounty of approximately waymorethanIshouldhavebought, I thought a sauce was in order. I decided to roast a few in the oven, rather than the usual slow, stovetop simmer.
With the sweet, smoky flavor of the tomatoes as the backbone of the sauce, I opted to accentuate them with other favorites: roasted red pepper, nutty and mellow roasted garlic, a mix of spicy chilis, rich, fresh Italian sausage, all brought together for a surprisingly zesty, hearty, meaty sauce, that somehow, still felt summery to me. I originally considered finishing this dish off with a generous amount of cheese and a brief period of baking in the oven, but a growling belly put a stop to that…and honestly, I’m happy it did–this didn’t need anything more. It also made for some awesome leftovers.
- ~1.5-2 lbs tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper
- 7 cloves garlic
- 1 lb hot italian sausage
- 3 baby leeks
- handful of hot peppers (I used somewhere around ~7)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- handful fresh parsely
- handful fresh basil
- 1 lb penne (or some other medium-sized pasta)
Slit a shallow ‘x’ on the bottom of the tomatoes. Lightly rub them, the red pepper, and garlic cloves (still in their paper) with a bit of olive oil. Throw these in a pan and roast in a 425°F oven for 45 minutes to an hour. If the skin doesn’t seem to char or blacken much, fire up the broiler for 10 minutes. Once time is up, remove from the oven, cover with a bit of foil/plastic wrap for 10 minutes (to steam them), and then you shouldn’t have much trouble peeling off the skins of the tomatoes and pepper (discard the skins as well as the ribs/seeds from the pepper). Squeezing the garlic out of the paper should also be pretty simple.
While the tomatoes, etc are steaming/cooling down, remove the sausages from their casings and coarsely chop/crumble them into bite-sized pieces. Brown these in a pan until cooked through, probably for around 7-10 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside to drain.
Dice up the leeks and hotter peppers somewhat coarsely. Sauté these for about 5 minutes in the remaining fat from the sausages. Then, deglaze the pan with white wine, allowing it to reduce by roughly half.
In a food processor/blender, briefly blitz the roasted vegetables to a smoother consistency. Add these to the pan with the leeks and peppers. Raise this to an active simmer and return the cooked sausage to the pan. Add the oregano and Bay leaves. Allow this to simmer for roughly 20-30 minutes or until the sauce takes on a consistency you’re happy with.
During the last 2 minutes, adjust the seasoning to your liking and add the chopped parsely and basil. Don’t forget to cook your pasta during all of this. Then, simply toss it all together, pile it on your plate, and dig in.